BANEPA, Dec 17: Sita Maya Tamang of Khanalthok-7, Kavre used to be a busy housewife, but now her daily routine has changed. After seeing her three daughters off to school in the morning, she descends to Bhakundebesi for training as a driver.
“The responsibility of rearing and educating my daughters has fallen on my shoulders after my husband died. I plan to take up driving to earn a living,” said Tamang.
Similarly, Dev Kumari Humagain of Kanpur VDC travels two hours to attend the same training at Bhakundebesi. A mother of two, Humagain says she decided to take up driving to become self-supporting.
“I want to show people that a housewife can contribute to the family,” she said.
Along with these two, 68 women of different ages have been regularly attending driving lessons organized by Laxmi Pratisthan,
Laxmi Pratisthan, which campaigns for women´s education in health, empowerment, skill development and traffic safety, has started training women drivers in the district to mark its third anniversary.
“Women and girls age 18-35 have been participating in the training,” informed its chairman Bishnu Gautam. He said 10+2 graduates and college girls are also among the trainees.
“My family and relatives are happy I am learning to drive,” said Dipika Tiwari of Patlekhel, a bachelor-level student. “It is better to work within the country than go aboard,” she added.
Laxmi Pratisthan was established by Gautam and his wife in memory of their two sons killed in road accident.
“The aim is to teach women driving along with road safety,” said Gautam.
According to Gautam, the trainees will be taught about road safety, road law, basic vehicle repair, and basic English as well as marshal arts. About Rs 30 thousand needs to be spent per head to complete the training.
The Nepal Army has provided trainers for automobile repair training while the district traffic police has been teaching traffic rules and road safety. Shova Sapkota, a local English teacher, is teaching basic English conversation. “The future drivers are provided knowledge of basic English conversation so that they can reach English speaking tourists to their destination,” said Sapkota.
According to marshal arts instructor Sonu Lama, the women are being given marshal arts training for self-defense in case any passenger tries to mistreat a woman driver.
Gautam said they plan to train 1000 women from Kavre, Sindhuplachok, Nuwakot, Dhadhing and Kathmandu in the coming three years.
“Upon completing the training, women can become self-reliant, earning around Rs 30,000 monthly even just driving other´s vehicles,” added Gautam.